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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Puella Magi Madoka Magica appears to be a cute animated show for little girls (similar to Sailor Moon), but it's full of dark moments and imagery that is more suited for teens and adults. Witch characters are very creepy, and there's lots of violence between girls and witches and sometimes between girls themselves, including beating, stabbing, and decapitation. Expect a bit of language, including "crap" and "s--t." There is a bit of adult drinking and some girls in short skirts.
What's the story?
In PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA, fourteen-year-old Madoka Kaname (voiced by Christine Marie Cabanos) is approached by a strange creature called Kyubey. He tells her that if she makes a contract with him, he will grant her a wish and give her magical powers. But in exchange for her powers, she must fight monsters known as Witches. As Madoka struggles to decide what to wish for, she discovers that the life of a Magical Girl is a tragic one, full of suffering and despair. Is anything she could wish for worth sacrificing her life?
Is it any good?
This truly special anime defies genre and takes a common idea for girls' anime -- giving teenage girls magical powers to save the world -- but gives it a darker twist. The result is a story more intent on making its audience think than simply providing entertainment.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica's animation style is full of fluid motion and attention to detail that makes it a uniquely pleasurable experience to watch. Every one of the main characters is well developed and its hard not to get attached to them as the story progresses. The plot is full of twists and turns that will keep viewers guessing and the overall messages -- including the idea that a normal life might be preferable to a supernatural one -- are powerful.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the tone of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. How do the creators establish a mood or tone for the series? What would make it a different kind of series? How would you change the series, if you could?
Talk about how the violence is presented. Does it improve the story? How would the story be different if it was less violent?
Talk about symbols in the series. Who do the witches represent? Are there other symbols you recognize?
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